Written by IAPMO 7:18 pm IAPMO Annual Conference

2022 Conference Award Winners

Government Person of the Year

John Nielsen

John Nielsen has proven himself to be a true champion of the Uniform Codes, both through advocacy and action.

After graduating high school from Gem State Academy in Caldwell, Idaho, Nielsen joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a structural mechanic / aerial observer-gunner on helicopters during the Desert Shield, Desert Storm andSomalia campaigns.

Returning to civilian life, he enrolled in the plumbing program at Boise State University and began his apprenticeship with Debest Plumbing in Boise. For 10 years, he rose from apprentice to journeyman to foreman, eventually supervising major construction jobs at hospitals, fitness centers, and cinemas around the Boise area.

In 2004, he was hired by the state of Idaho Division of Building Safety as a plumbing and HVAC inspector, ensuring code compliance, enforcing licensing and permits and making presentations before the Idaho Plumbing

In 2010, Nielsen was promoted to Plumbing Program Manager, performing plumbing plan review for state and manufactured buildings, proposing rule and statute changes and presenting them to the state plumbing board, and acting as a subject matter expert for the Idaho plumbing industry.

In 2015, his role expanded to Plumbing and HVAC program manager. Also that year, he became an IAPMO member, joining the UPC and UMC Technical Committees, and the 2015 UPC Code Review Task Group. Two years later, he joined the Answers and Analysis Committee.

A staunch advocate for the Uniform Codes as the basis for the Idaho state plumbing code, as the plumbing and HVAC specialist for the state of Idaho, Nielsen provides a clear, powerful voice at code hearings and meetings.

Recently, in response to assertions by competing code development bodies that the Uniform Codes are incompatible with other building codes, our recipient authored an article, “The UPC Plays Well with Others in Idaho,” thoroughly debunking such claims and providing clarity for jurisdictions across the country considering their own code adoptions.

In honor of his stalwart support of the Uniform Codes in the Gem State and nationwide, IAPMO is pleased to present John Nielsen with the 2022 Government Person of the Year Award.

Industry Person of the Year

Ray Levangie

The recipient of this year’s Industry Person of the Year, Ray Levangie, recently retired, bringing a close to a 45-year career in the trades during which all his peers grew to know him as the consummate union man.

The son of a UA member, one could say he was born into it, but what he’s accomplished with his 45 years at Local 398 in California’s San Gabriel Valley he forged on his own.

Initiating with 398 in 1977, Levangie turned out as a pipefitter and later worked in the field as a plumber. In 1989, he was elected business agent and held the post for 17 years. In 2005, he was elected business manager and held that position for 15 more years.

During that time, Levangie also served as president of District Council 16 and president of the Western States Pipe Trades.

Regarded by many as the most knowledgeable business manager in his district council, Levangie has been an immensely valuable resource to everybody from UA leadership to first-year apprentices.

An IAPMO member since 1989, he served on the Local 398 apprenticeship committee for 20 years and one of his initiatives was that the union hall would pay the IAPMO membership dues for all apprentices for all five years until they turned out.

In honor of a lifetime of service, touching hundreds of careers across both the UA and IAPMO spectrums, it is IAPMO’s honor to present Ray Levangie with the 2022 Industry Person of the Year.

“Thank you for this award,” he said. “It’s been a long ride. It’s been a lot of fun. IAPMO is like a family.”

American Flag Award

Jaime Valdivia

A person meeting the recipient of this year’s American Flag Award for the first time at an IAPMO conference will immediately notice three things about him: his exquisite golf attire, his even more exquisite moves on the dance floor, and his big, warm, infectious smile.

Obviously, it’s Jaime Valdivia, which says everything the power of his presence. But wait until you hear about his accomplishments and influence in the plumbing industry!

Recently retired following an impactful 38-year career in the plumbing and pipefitting industry, Valdivia completed his apprenticeship with UA Local 398 and worked his first 11 years as a field journeyman.

A graduate of the United Association’s Instructor Program and instructor in the UA’s International Training Program, Valdivia also earned an Associate in Applied Science with honors in the field of Industrial Training and acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Education from the National Labor College.

At Local 398, he’s served numerous roles from inside guard and recording secretary to J.A.T.C. Building Trades Delegate, executive board member and current president.

Also current director of the Piping Industry Progress and Education Trust Fund, better known as P.I.P.E., and executive vice president of National Inspection Testing and Certification, Valdivia capably wears many leadership hats simultaneously.

An IAPMO member for 33 years, he’s held leadership positions on numerous occasions with the U.P.P.A. Long Beach chapter, including recording secretary and chairman, and has served on the ASSE International Board of Directors. He was a 2021 recipient of the ASSE Fellow.

Sure, he’s flashy with his golf duds and samba moves, but this guy’s résumé is the real star of the show.

In recognition of his distinguished career of leadership, education, and expertise, IAPMO presents Jaime Valdivia with the 2022 American Flag Award.

“I don’t know if many of you know this, but since I was 12 years old, I wanted to be a plumber,” Valdivia said. “It was my lifetime dream. It took about seven years to get into the local union, but I waited patiently, and I fulfilled my dream. It’s been an amazing ride.

I love the fact that not only did I make it through the process, but I have two sons in the trade. To me, that’s an achievement; not only to believe in what you’re doing, but also to have your sons follow behind you and want to be part of it, as well.

“To see what this organization has done internationally and receive this prestigious award from you, it is an honor.”

George Kauffman Lifetime Achievement Award

Dave Mann

For just about as long as the Uniform Codes have been designated as American National Standards, Dave Mann has been integrally involved in their development. And to say “integrally” is not hyperbole.

Few among IAPMO’s ranks can claim Mann’s tenure on the technical committees that have produced seven editions of the Uniform Codes under the ANSI development procedures, let alone doing so with the enthusiasm — some may use other words — and expertise he has demonstrated for the past two decades.

A 58-year veteran of the trades, his “man in the field” perspective has repeatedly proven invaluable in the processing of new proposals for the next edition of a code. If a proposal directly affects contractors and inspectors, you’re going to hear from him. If something is potentially unsafe or untested in his eyes, you’re going to hear from him. If something could prove difficult for officials to enforce, you’re going to hear from him. And Mann’s concerns are always well researched, rooted deeply in experience, and delivered with a level of authority that demands consideration. A career spanning nearly six decades will do that for a person.

Mann started his career in 1964, joining UA Local 444 in the San Francisco Bay Area as an apprentice plumber. During his apprenticeship, he joined the Naval Air Reserves and served from 1967 to 1973.

During the first 30 years of his career, Mann installed plumbing and mechanical systems everywhere from single family and multi-unit homes, schools, detention facilities, office buildings and factories to dental offices and labs, medical offices and hospitals.

As an estimator for many of these projects, a thorough knowledge of the plumbing code was essential, so he honed that expertise and became quite an authority on the subject.

In 1994, Local 444 merged with Local 342. A year later, Mann was appointed as an organizer for Local 342. He would go on to serve as a business representative, trustee and member of Local 342’s Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. He retired as business representative in 2012 but remained a trustee for another six years.

He has not retired from IAPMO, however, as he continues to serve on both the UPC and UMC Technical Committees, as well as the Technical Correlating Committee. Those committees will gladly continue to take all the “enthusiasm” he can offer.

In honor of his long career of distinction and accomplishment, and freely sharing his wealth of institutional knowledge for the betterment of the people and places protected by the Uniform Codes, it is IAPMO’s honor to bestow the 2022 George Kauffman Lifetime Achievement Award upon Dave Mann.

“Thank you. I really don’t know what to say, but I certainly appreciate this award,” he said. “This comes as a great surprise. Receiving something from my peers means a lot to me, and I thank you very much.”

Joseph Kneidinger Sustainability Professional of the Year

Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett’s water career launched more than 40 years ago as a high school student digging ditches and assembling PVC irrigation piping for a landscape company. At the time, he had no idea this grueling job was his first step on a lifelong career path in water management.

After attaining a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1986, Bennett became an urban horticulturist for New Mexico State University. Among his pet projects was teaching a new concept called “xeriscaping,” which was an integrated approach to water efficiency in urban landscapes.

In 1995, Bennett joined the city of Albuquerque conservation program, where his skill sets diversified from landscape and irrigation into plumbing fixtures, appliances and water-use compliance enforcement. It was here that he got his first taste of writing, adopting, and enforcing municipal code.

In 2000, Bennett became conservation manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the regional water agency for the Las Vegas metro area. At the time, the city’s principal water supply, the Colorado River, was in a period of abundance. As Bennett pulled his U-Haul trailer across Hoover Dam, the water was just a dozen feet from spilling over. Within 24 months, however, all that would change.

In 2002, the Colorado River flowed at just one-fourth of normal, forcing Southern Nevada to make radical changes in water use. Bennett implemented water use compliance measures and established the nation’s most aggressive landscape conversion program. He developed the nation’s first large-scale program to develop water-efficient homes to help address the
rapidly growing community’s need for housing.

Bennett has been an IAPMO member since 2010 and has worked in concert with IAPMO to develop water efficient plumbing standards, including those used by the EPA WaterSense Program and IAPMO’s WE•Stand. His agency partnered with IAPMO on the Plumbing Efficiency Research Coalition studies, which documented the performance of high efficiency toilets in non-residential structures. In 2008, he developed the world’s largest conference on urban water efficiency, WaterSmart Innovations, partnering with IAPMO and other highly respected organizations to ensure it was the premiere event of its kind.

For continually advancing the fact that preserving the environment is indeed an integral aspect of the public health and safety we are dedicated to protecting, IAPMO thanks Doug Bennett by honoring him as the 2022 recipient of the Joseph Kneidinger Sustainability Professional of the Year Award.

“I’m not a plumber nor mechanical expert; I’m not a code nor regulatory official; I’m not a technical researcher; I’m a water efficiency professional from North America’s driest major city,” he said. “And for 13 years I’ve been an IAPMO member. Let me tell you why.

“The fact I’m on the outskirts of your industry is testament to how much your industry embraces the total need of your mission. Urban water utilities aren’t going to solve water scarcity by themselves; it takes a lot of partners. When I started looking around and identifying who those partners were, I identified that IAPMO was not only one of the leaders in plumbing and mechanical issues, but you are also the leader in meeting your mission of not only safe, sustainable plumbing; you are interested in partnering with whoever you can to ensure it happens. So, when I reached out to IAPMO, you embraced me wholeheartedly. My industry, water sustainability, intersects with your industry. We can’t create products that use so little water that they create a hazard, or they don’t function the way that they should.

“Today, I’m humbled by this recognition. I’m proud of the work that I’ve done, but I didn’t do it alone. Anything that we’ve accomplished is accomplished by the many, not the few. Thank you very much.”

President’s Green Oval

Earlier this year, the Board of Directors voted to add two more types of awards to the honors the association bestows to deserving contributors to IAPMO’s success. This one is the President’s Green Oval.

This new award will be presented each year during the education and business conference to individuals and/or organizations who have demonstrated outstanding service in support of The IAPMO Group’s mission and strategic directives.

This year IAPMO honored two inaugural recipients, both of whom are no doubt among IAPMO’s most familiar faces.

Shabbir Rawalpindiwala


The first recipient, Shabbir Rawalpindiwala, has demonstrated his commitment to the advancement of the plumbing industry through the development of effective, progressive codes and standards for nearly 50 years. When you talk about a subject matter expert on standards, he’s a real one.

After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Oklahoma State University in 1976, Rawalpindiwala found employment — and his calling — as a testing engineer at U.S. Testing in Tulsa. The expertise and connections he derived in that capacity led him to IAPMO, where he was hired as director of Quality Control in 1985 and later director of Standards in 1989. For the next 13 years, he enriched and expanded IAPMO’s Standards department and its scope of work into a dynamic organization, serving the industry more expertly and intuitively than ever before. He even stepped in as IAPMO executive director on an interim basis for a few months in the early ‘90s.

In 1998, one of the leading plumbing product manufacturers in the world, Kohler, lured him to Wisconsin to serve as its manager of Codes and Standards, a position he held for 22 years, continuing to work closely with IAPMO and the industry on myriad codes and standards of mutual interest. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement.

Rawalpindiwala serves or has served on the IAPMO Product Standards Committee as vice chair, ASME A112 Plumbing Committee as vice chair, IAPMO/ASSE Product Standards Committee, US TAG to ISO 316 Water Efficiency Standards, Canadian Standards Association technical committees and numerous other codes and standards working groups addressing plumbing products and water efficiency.

He has also been integrally involved in legislative advocacy at the federal level and is frequently recognized for his tireless efforts working with industry stakeholders to advance the harmonization of plumbing standards in both the United States and Canada.

As he has dedicated his career to the promotion of science, the art of plumbing, and advancement of codes and standards, his contributions and influence have not gone unnoticed by appreciative peers. Rawalpindiwala will no doubt have to make room in his crowded trophy case for this latest honor, as he has received such honors as PMI’s 2019 Ambassador Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ 2019 Patrick Higgins Medal, The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating’s 2015 Joseph K. Seidner Award, the Canadian Standards Association’s 2013 Award of Merit, and the 2009 PMI President Award.

IAPMO is pleased to add inaugural recipient of the IAPMO President’s Green Oval Award to the list of deserved accolades bestowed upon Shabbir Rawalpindiwala.

Tim Collings


The second inaugural recipient of the President’s Green Oval Award is a true embodiment of the term mentor. Whether it be through professional guidance of his peers or his unique gift for teaching, it’s fair to say each IAPMO member who has had any opportunity to learn from his tutelage has carried forward something helpful to their future work.

Raised in a family of plumbers, Tim Collings attended a certified apprenticeship program at Salt Lake Community College starting in 1970. After moving to Wyoming, he completed his plumbing apprenticeship and became a licensed plumber. He returned to Utah in 1981 and became the owner and sole proprietor of Tee Pee Plumbing and Heating.

At the same time, he started working as a plumbing inspector in Salt Lake City — and remained there for the next 40-plus years, during which he served as chief plumbing inspector, chief plumbing and mechanical inspector, and senior inspector, supervising the plumbing, mechanical, electrical and building inspectors.

He also began teaching in the plumbing apprenticeship program at Salt Lake Community College where his own journey in the trades began, honing his skills as an educator that have now enriched the careers of so many of us gathered here today.

Over his five decades in the trades, Collings has served on numerous committees and boards working to improve the plumbing and mechanical industry, including the UPC Technical Committee as chairman, IAPMO’s Plumbing Certification Committee, IAPMO Education and Training Committee, the UMC Workshop Committee, the IAPMO Board of Directors, director on the Utah Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials Board, including two as president, and member of the UAPMO education committee, teaching dozens of classes in the continuing education program.

Anybody who has attended an IAPMO conference the last 20 or so years has no doubt attended one of his code review seminars and later been better equipped to perform their job back home as a result.

To honor a remarkable career of volunteerism, shared expertise, and steady leadership, IAPMO presents Tim Collings with the President’s Green Oval Award.

“It’s been a heck of a journey,” he said. “I started in 1981 as a member of the association. I guess it snowballed from there a little bit. It’s kind of like having had two careers. I think of IAPMO as my family. It’s been a great journey and taken me all the way around the world. I’ve got no complaints. Thank you, everybody, I appreciate all this.”

Bruce Pfieffer Committee Member of the Year

Rex Crawford

Other than Bruce Pfeiffer himself, we can think of no more fitting person to receive this award than Rex Crawford; first and foremost because he embodies all the qualities of volunteerism and expertise the award seeks to recognize, but also because there’s nobody within the IAPMO family who meant more to Bruce than Rex did.

Bruce and Rex first met 25 years ago, not at all coincidentally it’s fair to say, at a Plumbing Code Workshop meeting at IAPMO World Headquarters in California. Despite their considerable differences — Bruce a die-hard Kansas Jayhawks fan, Rex a lifelong Nebraska Cornhuskers supporter — they became fast friends.

At first it was a friendship of convenience. Bruce had far more experience enforcing the UPC than Rex, as Lincoln first adopted it in 2003, so the two of them spoke frequently to answer Rex’s many questions. Soon, though, the conversations were more than just work stuff. It wasn’t long before Bruce and his wife Kim, Rex and his wife Marilyn, and their families were all friends, sharing weekend adventures and summer vacations. All because these two plumbers met on an IAPMO committee.

A member of IAPMO since 1996, Crawford was one of the founding members of the Nebraska chapter in 2004 and served as its first chairman, a role he has repeated in subsequent years. He’s been a member of the aforementioned Plumbing Code Workshop Committee since 1997 and of the Certification Exam Committee since its inception in 2003. The same expertise he once sought to glean from Pfeiffer, he now shares with newer members of the committees on which he serves.

In recognition of the 25 years of service he’s given to IAPMO, and the positively life-altering bond forged by Rex and Bruce’s participation on their committee, it is IAPMO’s great honor to present Rex Crawford with the 2022 Bruce Pfeiffer Committee Member of the Year Award.

“This is quite an honor,” Crawford said. “Any of you who know me know Bruce and I were just like this. (Holds two fingers together.) Maybe if I share a story about Bruce it will help a little bit. When we first met, Bruce told me that he would rather drive around Nebraska than go through it. Evidently their family had one or more vacations where they had car troubles in Nebraska. But after our friendship was built, highway 75 between Nebraska and Kansas was heavily traveled north and south.

“I can think of no better example of an IAPMO member than Bruce. He was a great inspector, a teacher, a chapter member, chapter officer, an IAPMO member, a life member, committee member, board member, and president. And I’m happy to say he was my best friend. Thank you for this award, IAPMO.”

Last modified: May 8, 2024